The Economist: The sleep-tech industry is waking up
The tired are tucking in. Investors dream of riches. Scientists need convincing.
The rich world has a sleep deficit. The average American adult snoozes almost two hours less than their great grandparents did. More than a third of Americans get less than seven hours of kip a night. The resulting fatigue has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension and other ailments. It may cost America’s economy as much as $400bn a year, according to one study. Other wealthy countries are similarly sleepless. Consumption of alcohol and caffeine are partly to blame, as is exposure to phone and computer screens. Ironically, people are turning to some of those same devices for help.
Tiny sensors are now more easily embedded into wearable gadgets to observe users overnight. Consumer-electronics giants such as Google, Samsung and Huawei offer sleep-related technology in their gadgets. Although Apple seems to be winding down Beddit, a Finnish maker of bed sensors it acquired in 2017 for an undisclosed amount, it has incorporated sleep functionalities into its new smart watches.